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'Two things that never change': Scott Hansen on the All Blacks' style changes from last year

By Ben Smith
The All Blacks coach team (L-R) Jason Ryan, Jason Holland, Scott Robertson, Scott Hansen and Leon MacDonald pose for a photo during the New Zealand All Blacks International Test Squad Announcement at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre on June 24, 2024 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

A new era for the All Blacks has started but their first public showing is due this weekend when they face England at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

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The regime change is the first in over two decade after the succession of Graham Henry by assistant Steve Hansen, and assistant Ian Foster following Hansen.

Under new head coach Scott Robertson there is an air of excited uncertainty around how the All Blacks will play and how much change there will be.

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New assistant coach Scott Hansen kept expectations in check when he was asked, explaining that the fundamentals of Test rugby demand a similar approach.

“We’ll choose our moments around what momentum looks like for us and how we will regain it,” Hansen explained to media on Tuesday.

“Test match footy is going to come down to a number of things and fundamentally it’s going to come down to set piece, our ability to create momentum and apply pressure, that will still be our DNA.

“That is All Black rugby, and you look at our skillset within our game, the ability to play through our forwards, from one to eight and our ability to find space with our backs.

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“So we’re excited to see the team come together for the first time.”

Hansen hinted that changes will come throughout the season as new combinations are formed and chemistry is made with a new system.

On whether the difference in style will be obvious or nuanced, the assistant explained that the main objective for the team is to remain decisive.

The team has focused on the main purpose of wearing the black jersey, which is representing the people of New Zealand.

“That’s a good question. We will embrace this Test for what it is, and we will evolve during the year,” he said.

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“It’s important for us to be decisive this weekend, so that’s what we should expect to see from our All Blacks this weekend. A decisive team.

“There will be two things that never change, it’s the blackness of the jersey and the silver fern.

“So the expectation around representing our people as a nation is always there for the All Blacks, and the players have made that really clear what they expect of each other.”

“They are excited to do that. So expectations, yes, but the perspective around that can be what about the excitement to perform, and that’s where Razor has taken us.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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